What are the most common side effects and adverse effects of opioids

Question Details

Respond to each question.

1.    An issue that can occur with long-term opioid use is tolerance. Explain drug tolerance; what is the result of drug tolerance?

2.    What are the most common side effects and adverse effects of opioids?

3.    What is the difference between drug dependence and drug addiction?

4.    Why did the federal government file criminal charges against Purdue Pharma in 2007; what was the outcome of the case?

5.    Click on the following links and answer the questions related to the October 2020 update on charges against Purdue Pharma:


  1. How much was the settlement that the Federal government reached with Purdue Pharma in October 2020?
  2. How much did the Sackler family agree to pay?
  3. What charges did the company agree to plead guilty to?


  1. To whom did Purdue pharma pay kickbacks?
  2. How much money did the company make from the sale of OxyContin?
  3. Since 1999, how many people in the United States have died from opioid-related overdoses?

6.    Approximately how many people in America died from an opioid overdose in 2021? How does that number compare to deaths from opioid overdose in 2020? How did the COVID Pandemic affect the number of overdose deaths in 2020?

7.    In April of 2018, what overdose-reversing drug did the US Surgeon General recommend that all Americans carry? Explain how the drug works (mechanism of action).

8.    Discuss at least 3 ways that health care providers can aid in combating the opioid crisis in America.

Question Guide (Order for Complete Paper)

  1. Drug Tolerance: Drug tolerance is a physiological adaptation that occurs in response to repeated drug exposure. It results in a reduced response to the same dose of a drug over time, meaning that individuals need higher doses to achieve the same effect that was initially obtained with a lower dose. In the context of opioids, individuals who develop tolerance will require increasing amounts of opioids to achieve pain relief, which can lead to the escalation of opioid doses.
  2. Common Side Effects and Adverse Effects of Opioids: Common side effects of opioids include:
    • Drowsiness
    • Constipation
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Itching
    • Dry mouth

    Adverse effects can be more severe and may include:

    • Respiratory depression (slowed breathing)
    • Sedation
    • Tolerance and physical dependence
    • Opioid use disorder (addiction)
    • Risk of overdose and death
  3. Difference Between Drug Dependence and Drug Addiction: Drug dependence refers to a physical adaptation to a drug, where the body has become accustomed to the presence of the drug and experiences withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued. It is a normal physiological response to certain medications, including opioids, and does not necessarily imply addiction.Drug addiction, on the other hand, involves both physical dependence and psychological cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behavior. It is characterized by the loss of control over drug use, continued use despite negative consequences, and an intense desire to obtain and use the drug.
  4. Federal Charges Against Purdue Pharma in 2007: The federal government filed criminal charges against Purdue Pharma in 2007 due to the company’s misleading marketing practices for OxyContin, an opioid painkiller. Purdue Pharma had minimized the risks of addiction associated with OxyContin and had promoted it as a less addictive option. The outcome of the case included a guilty plea from Purdue Pharma and a settlement of $600 million, which was one of the largest pharmaceutical settlements in U.S. history.
  5. October 2020 Update on Charges Against Purdue Pharma:
    • The settlement reached in October 2020 with the federal government and various states was for approximately $8.3 billion.
    • The Sackler family agreed to pay $225 million as part of the settlement.
    • Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, violating federal anti-kickback laws, and violating federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act provisions.

    In a separate Reuters article, it was reported that Purdue Pharma paid kickbacks to doctors and that the company made over $35 billion from the sale of OxyContin. Since 1999, more than 450,000 people in the United States have died from opioid-related overdoses.

  6. Opioid Overdose Deaths in 2021: In 2021, approximately 93,000 people in America died from opioid overdoses. This represented a significant increase compared to 2020 when there were approximately 70,000 opioid overdose deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic likely contributed to the increase in overdose deaths in 2020, as it disrupted healthcare services and exacerbated social and economic challenges.
  7. Overdose-Reversing Drug Recommended by US Surgeon General in April 2018: The overdose-reversing drug recommended by the US Surgeon General in April 2018 is naloxone. Naloxone works by competitively binding to opioid receptors in the brain, displacing opioids and reversing their effects. It rapidly restores normal respiration in individuals experiencing opioid overdose, effectively reversing the life-threatening effects of respiratory depression caused by opioids.
  8. Ways Healthcare Providers Can Combat the Opioid Crisis:
    • Prescription Monitoring Programs: Healthcare providers can use prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to track patients’ opioid prescriptions and identify potential misuse or “doctor shopping.”
    • Evidence-Based Prescribing: Providers can follow evidence-based guidelines for opioid prescribing, including limiting the duration and dosage of opioid prescriptions for acute pain and considering alternative pain management approaches.
    • Education and Screening: Healthcare providers can educate patients about the risks of opioid use, screen for substance use disorders, and provide referrals for addiction treatment when necessary.
    • Naloxone Distribution: Providers can prescribe and distribute naloxone to at-risk patients and their families to reduce overdose fatalities.
    • Support for Medication-Assisted Treatment: Encouraging and providing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options like methadone and buprenorphine for individuals with opioid use disorder.
    • Community Outreach: Healthcare providers can participate in community outreach and education efforts to raise awareness about opioid risks and resources for addiction treatment.

These strategies aim to prevent opioid misuse, reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths, and address the opioid crisis in the United States.

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